I wanted to be transparent about what it’s like buying a house when you are self-employed because I wish someone had mapped out what it could look like when I started dreaming! For years, we have dreamed of having a place where we could let our roots grow deeper. A place where our kiddos could mark their height on the wall as they grow. A place where we can have family & friends come visit all the time. A home we can truly call our own.
Honestly though, what an affirmation of my life’s path and goals to have this come true in 2021. (Especially with the year of the INSANE housing market, but more on that later!)
Before you read more of our story, I want to stop and take a moment to encourage you.
If homeownership is a dream of yours as well, please know there is no rush. Trust the timing of big decisions & make them when the timing is right for your life.
It’s a big investment and it’s important to really analyze if homeownership is the right move on a personal level. (That depends on your financial status, your housing market, and your home goals.) It’s NOT always the right decision! For example, when we lived in California two years ago, renting was the smartest financial decision for us. We lived in a neighborhood we loved for a fraction of what it would cost us to purchase a home there. Renting during that time brought us so much good as a family. Renting is ALSO amazing for being able to get up and go & being able to figure out what type of space you feel the most at home in. I personally love change and truly got a thrill out of the rental life!
Last year we moved across the country from California to Florida. We settled in a rental right around the corner from 30A, a scenic highway with stunning ocean views. We fell in love with the small-town community, the beach lifestyle & the vacation vibes here all year long.
We knew we wanted to raise our babies and stay in this town for a while. We did that first step, we inquired with a few realtors and decided to go with… Our neighbor! She was someone with who we connected & was deeply knowledgeable about our area. (Pro-tip, did you know you can find so many real estate agents on Instagram?! Try typing in, “*your city name* realtor” to see who comes up!)
We also sat down with a mortgage broker recommended by our realtor to see what we qualified for and what we should expect to spend. Everyone’s situation is unique, ESPECIALLY buying a house when you are self employed. To give you a window into our specific financial picture, we were able to use a VA loan because Connor is retired from the military. So, in some ways that was easier BUT because Connor and I are both self-employed, that made the paperwork WAY more complicated. It was important for us to show the mortgage companies the last few years of our business’s financial tax records to show that we were profitable, financially stable and could afford the mortgage we were applying for. We got pre-approved for a specific amount for our home loan and were so grateful for the literal doors it began to open as we began the house hunt.
Next, we entered the search time! We didn’t get our hopes up for a while, especially because of the nature of real estate right now. (The market is insane, guys. IYKYK) It really helped us to make a list of all the items in our home that were 100% needed and the ones that would be nice to have but wouldn’t make or break the deal. Here’s a few of them:
We ultimately found our sweet beach bungalow in a neighborhood we adored. THIS is one of the many times I felt God’s handprint all over our journey. You see, we drove through this neighborhood all last year, praying & crossing our fingers that a listing would pop up. So when our home appeared on the market, it felt 100% meant to be.
We placed an offer and wrote a heartfelt letter about why this home meant so much to us. That we would cherish it and that it represented our dream.
Waiting kept us on pins and needles, especially because there were other offers as well! When our realtor called, she told us that it was THE LETTER that made us stand out to the owners—that they loved our enthusiasm and joy for the place & they ultimately wanted their home to go to a family (rather than an investor).
What we didn’t know was that once your offer is accepted, the real work starts. Inspections and documents galore… So many highs and lows. You really have to build yourself up during this time and keep an open mind that it may or may not work out. A whole two months & many tears later, we closed the deal (with a 300+ page contract!) and received the keys!
When we were officially handed those keys, I cried.
Opening the door to this home for the first time as the owner was a day I will never forget. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we are constantly looking to the next goal or swamped in our day-to-day work that we never take a moment to see how far we have come. This day was one that I just was beaming with joy & gratitude at how faithful the Lord always is. There were so many years of hard work leading up to this accomplishment.
Immediately, we jumped into painting and fixing things up, and cannot wait to walk you through with a home tour once we’ve completed our updates! Whew! It’s SUCH a journey buying a house when you’re self employed.
P.S. If you want to watch all of this unfold in real time, here‘s the vlog we created during the entire process!